-In Tune Series Part 3-
Demystifying controversial beliefs within the field of sound healing and modern-day spirituality.
Within the new age community and modern-day spiritual circles this statement became famous in the last couple of decades: “Raise your frequency!” What could this possibly mean? Which frequency exactly should rise? What would be the benefit of raising it? In this research I’ll share some wildly spread misunderstandings as well as some possible truths about human frequencies.
Sound healing on 'raising frequency'
In sound healing or sound therapy we are applying audible sound (in the range between 20 Hz and 20.000 Hz) with the voice, singing bowls, tuning forks and basically any other audible instrument. The listener receives those sounds in order to restore the natural harmony within one’s organism.
In an unbalanced organism the natural hearth rhythm, the brainwaves and other physiological and psycho-energetic rhythms and frequencies are often heightened and always disturbed. As a sound therapist I observed in people with a disturbed organism usually high levels of stress, anxiety and agitation. Generally those people benefit more from being exposed to lower frequencies than to higher frequencies. In this way the ‘high’ levels of stress can drop more easily.
What is more important than the actual frequency rate that is played, in my experience, is to create long-stretched, undisturbed and coherent ‘drone-sounds’. These should always be created from rather low, carrying frequencies. Higher frequency drones sound sharp to the ear and cause to most listeners a heightened agitation.
Generally speaking in sound therapy we would rather apply the lower range of frequencies as the pillars of a sound healing session. And in case that would be different, there is no point in stating that the higher frequencies have by definition a ‘better’ effect on the listener. But the question here might be of a different order. Should the frequency of the individual (and possibly humanity as a whole) itself be raised?
The (dis)agreement of science with ancient spiritual knowledge
In the 20th century within the field of quantum physics scientists discovered that solid matter isn’t actually solid, but rather made up of energy vibration at various frequencies. The entire universe is made up of frequency. WAAW, what a shift of perception on reality, isn’t it? This discovery seemed to match perfectly with the numerous ancient legacies from religious and spiritual traditions about the creation process of the universe and its intimate relationship with vibration (*1). Both intuitive mystics and rational oriented scientists finally seemed to agree on a very essential topic of life; ‘the entire universe is made up of vibration; frequency’.
“If you wish to understand the universe, think of energy, frequency and vibration,” is an endlessly quoted statement in new age sources, stemming from Nicola Tesla. Although people like Einstein and Tesla are numerously quoted, very few people actually attempted to truly understand what these scientists were pointing to. Now you might think; “Okay, but isn’t it the bottom-line that all is frequency?” Fair enough… The problem though, or let’s call it a great misconception, rises when those people quoting the great scientists start to invent their own ‘scientific’ story with information they don’t understand at all their selves. One of the major misconceptions is that all vibrations follow the exactly the same laws. This is partially true, but not entirely. Few people know there is acoustic sound and as well electromagnetic vibration. Although essentially they are the same, both follow entirely different laws as well.
If all is frequency, the human being should be frequency too. Why then should this frequency (of me and you) be raised? We could ask here the question which frequency exactly we are pointing at? We should even ask a more fundamental question first; who are you? One thing is sure: the human being is a very complex organism. A holistic perspective stemming from ancient India shows us that the human being is made up of 5 layers; the physical, energetic, emotional, mental and spiritual body. (*2) All of these layers are made up of frequencies, yet not all of them are measurable. In fact, very little is scientifically known about the human being and its exact frequencies. So, what ‘do’ we actually know today?
Science about 'raising frequency'
The term ‘frequency’ refers to ‘herz’ (cycles per second). It thus refers to science and ‘that which can be measured’. The very little information about ‘our frequency’ that is generally accepted by the scientific community is on brainwave frequencies. The brain consists of neurons that transmit information to one another through electrical signals. These signals produce rhythms or wave patterns, which are known as brain waves, measured with an EEG (electroencephalography). (*3)
There are 5 main types of brainwaves categorised:
Delta waves (below 3 Hz): deep sleep or extremely still mind in advanced meditation
Theta waves (from 3 to 8 Hz): deep relaxation, focussed inward, dreams at night, visualisation, meditation
Alpha waves (from 8 to 12 Hz): relaxation, creativity, passive attention, daydreaming
Beta waves (from 12 to 38 Hz): activity, busyness, external attention, faster mental processes, anxiety, stress-related
Gamma waves (from 38 to 80 Hz): heightened focus, concentration, heightened ability to learn and process at a fast speed, brilliant creative performances, bliss, excitement, visualisation and meditation
During the daytime we are generally producing lots of beta waves. Most people in the western world today are generating phases of beta waves that are long and fast, which are causing stress, anxiety and the like. Generally most of us could do with some more alpha and theta waves in order to feel more relaxed and balanced. Should we conclude we better ‘lower’ our frequency instead of raising it?
Until the invention of the digital EEG only the first 4 categories were known to science, as the analogue EEG could only measure up until 25 Hz. (*4) With the digital EEG interestingly the gamma waves are added to the list. The research on gamma waves gives a new perspective, and is showing that heightened brainwave frequencies are enabling us to perform brilliant creative and learning processes. Also in meditation these higher gamma frequencies are often running through our brain. Higher emotional states as bliss or happiness are often experienced while generating these very fast brainwaves.
As modern-day people are spending prolonged periods of generating beta waves, generally we would benefit from generating more often either the lower (delta-alpha-theta) or the higher (gamma) brainwaves. So if we want to be more relaxed, happy and healthy we could either drop or raise our frequency when it comes to brainwaves. But are we speaking about the brainwave frequencies or… ? Which frequency exactly are we talking about?
Pseudo-science about 'raising frequency'
As far as my research goes it seems like the idea of ‘raising your frequency’ is to be traced back mainly to two different sources. They could be called pseudo-scientific, although it is mostly the misinterpretations and misuse of these 2 sources that could be called this name. Almost any article or video on the internet about this topic can be traced back to one of these two sources.
1) The BT3 Frequency Monitoring System, invented by Bruce Tainio
A frequency monitor! Isn’t that cool, incredible and ground-breaking?! Although probably this machine isn’t ringing a bell to you, maybe you did hear about the research on the frequencies of essential oils? The man behind it is D. Gary Young, the founder and former CEO of one of the two largest essential oil companies on the globe. In the ‘90’s he wrote an article on a research that was performed on the frequencies of essential oils. This article was copy pasted countless times and contains very precise frequency measurements of the ‘Young Living’ essential oils, among some other products and human physical conditions. It includes some of the findings that are measured in his laboratory with the technology mentioned above. Here is a part of this article:
“Clinical research shows that essential oils have the highest frequency of any natural substance known to man, creating an environment in which disease, bacteria, virus, fungus, etc., cannot live. I believe that the chemistry and frequencies of essential oils have the ability to help man maintain the optimal frequency to the extent that disease cannot exist.”
Genius Brain Frequency
Brain Frequency Range
Normal Brain Frequency
Human Body: from Neck up
Human Body: from Neck down
Melissa (Lemon balm)
Colds and Flu start at:
Disease starts at:
Candida overgrowth starts at:
Receptive to Epstein Barr at:
Receptive to Cancer at:
Death begins at:
Although this seems like a very impressive result (especially in the advantage of the Young Living essential oil company), looking deeper into it there seem to be a couple of hitches. I’ll sum up a couple of reasons to doubt, or at least strongly consider, the above conclusions:
- The frequency monitoring system from Bruce Tainio measures in MHz (a million times 1 Hz), not in Hz, as presented in his article. As head of a scientific laboratory, this isn’t a small mistake, if you ask me.
- The CEO of a company coming up with his own scientific conclusions, without any back-up from the scientific community or even other researchers, is a doubtful thing indeed.
- Bruce Tainio was a professional scientist in the agricultural sector. As a hobby, Bruce was an inventor and a student of energy and quantum physics, which lead him to invent several instruments, among them the frequency monitoring system. (*6) It is unclear whether or not (and to which extend) it was acknowledged by the scientific community. Apart from Young’s research and an official description of it on google patents (*7) no research of others is to be found online. We could conclude this is an invention of one person; a technology that might be genius or fraudulent. Who will tell? There is no back-up.
- Lastly, the mindset of Young seems to be more in-line with the allopathic way of relating with disease instead of the holistic way. Disease, bacteria and viruses seem to be treated as an enemy. Whether one ‘destroys’ a disease with anti-biotics or with frequencies, one is still creating war against the natural organism. (*8) This argument might be a whole other topic in itself though.
Now, how is all of this related to the belief we should raise our frequency? This research – whether trustable or not - suggests that a healthy body vibrates at a higher rate than an unhealthy body. If this technology and research indeed are trustworthy, one could conclude that a big part of the human population indeed would benefit from raising their frequency. But what with those human beings that find their selves already in a perfectly healthy state? Would they evolve from health to superhealth by raising even more their frequency? And would there be something like ‘vibrating too high’ instead of too low, and losing balance by going too much in the other, upward direction?
Whatever is true about all this, I would surely stress the importance of placing these findings in a holistic context. It’s a huge oversimplification to conclude that any substance of a high frequency (as essential oils are claimed to be) are lifting up the frequency of an organism and thus making it healthier. What if you’d be vibrating too high? Should you consume a zero-Hz cheese burger to drop your frequency?
One could conclude that everything that vibrates at a high rate is beneficial and raises your frequency (or general level of energy). Ultimately what is desired might not be a ‘high frequency’ but a balanced organism. A fresh salad might be beneficial for one and upset the digestion of the other. Consuming essential oils internally on a daily basis might raise your frequency, or (more likely) cause major health problems. Being exposed to musically high frequencies might balance one person and unbalance the other. A general deeper insight in the holistic vision is essential to know which ‘vibration’ is bringing balance or unbalance.
2) Map of consciousness by David R. Hawkins (about ‘frequencies’ of emotions)
David Hawkins presents in one of his books (Power vs force) a map of human consciousness. The map shows a spectrum of inner (emotional) states and they are given a log number from 20 to 1000, starting with guilt (20 log) at the bottom and enlightenment (700-1000 log) at the top. From the lowest to the highest state are: shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger, pride, courage, neutrality, willingness, acceptance, reason, love, joy, peace, enlightenment. In order to determine, or let’s say ‘measure’, the emotional state he used kinesiology (muscle testing). Obviously this isn’t about the exact number, as a kinesiological test would not be able to determine an exact frequency.
As a misinterpretation people all over the internet started swapping the indication term ‘log’ for ‘hertz’. This is giving the impression that everything, even the state of enlightenment is measurable. The western-world-obsession with ‘measuring everything’ now turns the spiritual process into something measurable. Suddenly statements like ‘shame = 20 Hz’ and ‘enlightenment = 1000 Hz’ started spreading, leading to a misconception of the nature of sound.
Although Hawkins was speaking of the importance of raising consciousness and raising the level of energy in one’s system, the interpretations of his map lead to misconceptions of sound and emotional frequencies.
Finding 'your soul-frequency'
When I brought a visit to the Globe sound healing center in San Francisco, about 13 years ago, I was introduced to the idea of a ‘soul-frequency’. Through a combination of tests (among them the kinesiological test in relationship to specific tones) they get to know the client’s ‘soul-frequency’.
Based on the research of Jeffrey Thompson (*9) they started to apply this method in direct relationship with a sound healing treatment. Once the tone of ones ‘soul-frequency’ is found, this tone is being played for the client so that the entire organism can return to its natural root frequency. Thus the idea of this method isn’t to raise the soul-frequency of the person, but to allow the person to ‘return’ (through a process of listening and entrainment) with every part of her body and being to this natural soul-frequency.
The method leaves me with the question ‘what exactly is being measured’? What is meant with ‘the soul’ here? Would this method be tuning into the general frequency of the entire energetic field of a person? Would it be the same energetic field that Tainio aimed to measure through his frequency monitor? These answers are still floating in the air and might or might not belong to the mystery forever.
A metaphysical view on 'raising consciousness'
Next to these (pseudo-)scientific researches, there is another way of tuning into the frequency of things; intuition. An internalised observation may give us some different perspectives. Let’s face it; the great majority of our human and universal world doesn’t seem to be measurable. And in case it would be(come), it is doubtful that all those measurements could be at service of our wellness and wellbeing. When it comes to the human being, any rhythms or frequencies beyond the physical plane are hard or often impossible to measure through technological devices.
‘Metaphysics’ literally means ‘above the physical’, and any spiritual practice is pointing towards this mysterious, immeasurable ‘beyond’. Through a devoted and in-depth practice an altered state of mind can be brought about. (Or just take some drugs for a short-cut.) From that perception - e.g. as in trance, hypnosis or meditation - there are countless reports of people experiencing ‘higher frequencies’ or a ‘raising of vibration’.
Also on the path of Yoga it is common to speak in terms of ‘raising consciousness’. Since last century the chakras are being used as a map to bring consciousness upwards, from the gross to the subtle, from lower vibrations to the higher ones. This view on the chakras and the yogic path entirely is quite recent though. As Western science started to melt with ancient teachings, the path of Yoga took on a very different form then it used to have in ancient India. Highly influential teachers and gurus like Swami Satyananda Sarasvati brought in (and supported) the idea of a path that guides the practitioner to ‘higher vibrations’. If we look at the roots of yoga, as well as the teachings of Sri Aurobindo, we see that an opposite view exists as well.
The ancient metaphysical teachings of the Samkhya schools of ancient India could be seen as the precursor of Yoga. (*10) Samkhya teaches how the ‘tanmatras’ (subtle elements) manifest into the ‘mahabhootas’ (gross elements). These elements are the 5 metaphysical building blocks of the universe; the primordial elements earth, water, fire, air and space. The creation process of the universe is explained as a cosmic unfoldment of the subtle (sukshma) into the gross (sthula). From empty space manifests air, fire, water and earth respectively. A more modern way to put it: The high frequencies from empty space are manifesting into lower frequencies of water and ultimately earth. We can also say that spirit manifests into matter, and thus there is a downward instead of an upward movement.
Although it may seem that the spiritual practice (e.g. meditation) lifts you up and raises your consciousness, we could just flip this around. Meditation grounds consciousness into the body, and thus there is a descend of consciousness happening instead of an ascent. There is an up and down movement happening simultaneously. The great saint Sri Aurobindo (the inspiration behind the Auroville community) wrote extensively about this double movement.
“The practice of this yoga is double — one side is of an ascent of the consciousness to the higher planes, the other is that of a descent of the power of the higher planes into the earth-consciousness so as to drive out the Power of darkness and ignorance and transform the nature.”
Sri Aurobindo (*11)
Should we raise our frequency? In case we would be talking about the frequency of consciousness, we could either bring it up or bring it down. The bottom-line here, from this ultimate metaphysical perspective, is that it isn’t about the ‘personal frequency’ anymore. It is all about transcending the idea of a person (ego) entirely and bringing down a universal – call it higher – consciousness.
So should you raise or lower your frequency? Or should you return to your soul frequency? Should you raise consciousness or bring it down?
The answer depends on what you consider to be ‘you’. You might be talking about brainwave frequencies, the frequency of your energy field, the frequency of your emotional state or state of consciousness, the frequency of your soul or the frequency of Consciousness itself.
Who are you? I will leave the question open for you to answer.
In Love and Truthfulness,
1) The Upanishads, the Bible, among other ancient scriptures
2) Referring to the 5 koshas, stemming from ancient yogic texts. Originally the emotional and mental body are slightly differently translated. Traditionally in India the emotions and mind are differently perceived as in our western view on it.
8) Read more about the allopathic vs. the holistic vision in my article https://www.akasharetreatcenter.com/post/the-end-of-alternative-medicine
10) Samkhya Darshan – Swami Niranjanananda
11) The Integral Yoga – Sri Aurobindo (chapter 8)
Photos by Michael Dziedzic, Casey Horner, Hans Richter, Bret Kavanaugh and Crystal Weed (on Unsplash)
About the In Tune Series
This series contains articles and occasionally videos on vague, mystic and often controversial topics within the field of sound healing and modern-day spirituality. I’ll shine some light on some very ‘settled’ beliefs within this field, and investigate whether or not they really are ‘in tune’ with ‘truth’.